About the Indiana State Robotics Initiative
The City of Indianapolis VEX Robotics Championship (IndyVRC) was created in 2012 by then-Mayor Greg Ballard with the goal of providing an opportunity for all Indianapolis high school students to participate in a world class robotics event. As the leader in STEM education efforts for the state of Indiana since 2001, TechPoint Foundation for Youth (TPF4Y) was invited by Mayor Ballard to serve as the lead partner of the IndyVRC, later taking on full responsibility for its success. Initially, the program served 38 high schools around the city, later adding both a middle school and an elementary school division to the comprehensive grant program. By 2016, the IndyVRC had awarded more than 180 grants, impacting nearly 3,000 students and raising nearly $170,000 annually to support the program and city competition.
The success of the IndyVRC model and the commitment of the Hogsett administration to continue the growth of the program, spurred TPF4Y and the IndyVRC Advisory Board to think bigger - much bigger. Together, with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Project Lead The Way, REC Foundation, and VEX Robotics, TPF4Y was charged to lead a statewide expansion of the program known today as the State Robotics Initiative (SRI). SRI aims to have an impact similar to that of the IndyVRC on a larger, statewide scale, starting first with our youngest Hoosiers with the launch of the statewide elementary grant program in 2016.
Since the launch of the State Robotics Initiative (SRI) in 2016, Indiana has experienced a tremendous increase in the overall number of competitive VEX robotics teams, growing from 400 to over 1,500 teams. TechPoint Foundation for Youth is thrilled to announce that as a result of the SRI program, starting first with elementary students, Indiana has catapulted into the position of national leader in elementary robotics education. A big thank you to the schools and teachers who stepped up to make this possible for Indiana students!
TechPoint Foundation for Youth, in partnership with Guggenheim Life and Annuity and Indy Woman in Tech (IWiT), want to encourage students who may not otherwise have the interest or opportunity, to give STEM education a chance. It’s no secret that many girls tend to lose interest in STEM subjects by the time they reach middle school. This inevitably leads to the male dominated engineering and technology workforce that we see today. We believe that engaging young female students in hands-on robotics programs at a young age will ignite their curiosity and encourage them to continue to explore the fascinating subjects of STEM.
The SRI program began a comprehensive evaluation process in 2016. Elementary robotics students in their first year of the program were asked to participate in a pre- and post-survey to measure the impact of the program. Student results from the 2016-17 season have shown significant impact in those who:
plan to attend college
plan to take math and science courses in future years of school
expect to do well in science classes
are more acquainted with a scientist and/or mathematician
are more competent with robots and computer programming
Students also reported an increase in their ability to:
work with other students different from oneself
excel in English/Language Arts and Math classes
Because we believe ongoing opportunities are crucial to continuing this impressive student impact, TechPoint Foundation for Youth will continue offering elementary and middle schools robotics grant opportunities beginning Spring 2019.
To learn more about the State Robotics Initiative grant, visit: